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Tassajara Creek & Church Creek

Tributaries of the Arroyo Seco

Tassajara Creek is the largest tributary of the Arroyo Seco River. The creek flows southeast from the slopes of South Ventana Cone past Tassajara Hot Springs and into the Arroyo Seco River. Most of the creek’s 10.4 miles are located on public lands in the Ventana Wilderness.

Church Creek is Tassajara Creek’s largest tributary. It flows southwest from the Church Creek divide that separates Church Creek from Pine Valley and the Carmel River watershed into Tassajara Creek, about 2.5 miles upstream of Tassajara Hot Springs. Most of Church Creek is located on public lands and the Ventana Wilderness.

The Forest Service completed a Wild & Scenic study of Tassajara Creek in 2005. The agency concluded that the creek was free flowing but did not possess any outstanding values. Conservationists believe that all 10.4 miles of the creek possess outstanding fish, wildlife, cultural, and recreational values. The Forest Service did not assess Church Creek for eligibility.

Outstanding Values:

Fish & Wildlife – Threatened central coast steelhead migrate all the way from the Pacific Ocean up the Salinas and Arroyo Seco Rivers to spawn in Tassajara Creek’s high quality habitat. The creek also supports one of the few Central Coast populations of the sensitive foothill yellow-legged frog.

Cultural – Tassajara Creek and its mineral rich hot springs have been a destination for human use for thousands of years, first as a sacred cultural site of the Esselen Indians, later as a historic resort site, and now the locale of the Tassajara Zen Mountain Center, which carries on the 1,000 year-old tradition of monastic zen training.

Ventana Wild Rivers Campaign Hannah Schoenthal-Muse, Organizer Friends of the River 99 Pacific St., Suite 555A, Monterey, CA 93940 831/535-8304 • hannah@friendsoftheriver.org

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